The Wellesley Applejacks are heading into a busy weekend with another win under their belt.
The Jacks had a bit of a break over the weekend, playing just one game, instead of their usual two and sometimes even three. Capitalizing on their one chance, they defeated the Woodstock Navy Vets 6-1 at home on Saturday night.
The Jacks are third in the league behind Ayr and Paris.
Wellesley took the lead early as defenseman Lucas Spence put one past Woodstock goalie North Davies. Sean McEwan and Jake Wilkinson assisted.
Woodstock evened the playing field with a power play marker from Braden Hutchison four minutes later, assisted by Jack Taylor and Austin Whetham. With 28 seconds to go in the first, Wilkinson gave the Jacks back their lead, helped by Nick Mercier.
“We talked before the game about making sure we got the two points that weekend. I didn’t think we came out too bad. Woodstock, they’re quick, they can skate. They’re not a real big team but I give them credit, they held us down for a bit there. I thought we definitely got better as the game went on and we got the end result,” said head coach Brad Gerber.
The second period didn’t see any action between the pipes until Wellesley’s Jordan Hoekstra scored on the power play with 23 seconds remaining. Shaun Pickering and Mercier were helpers.Wellesley continued to find ways to score in the third. Wilkinson earned his second of the night less than a minute into the final period. Alex Uttley and Matthew Lantz assisted.
Uttley scored twice, both on power plays, to give the Jacks the 6-1 decision. Mercier, Spence, Hoekstra and Pickering earned assists.
Wellesley spent 44 minutes in the box compared to Woodstock’s 72 minutes of penalty time.
“We’ve been talking a lot about being a lot more disciplined and I think we have been. Staying out of things after the whistle, especially the scrums. Sometimes it’s hard to do that. I thought we stayed out of the box pretty good that night,” Gerber said.
He also commends the team for getting pucks to the net and driving to the net, which they had been talking to the players about improving.
“We’ve got good speed and we need to use it and go wide and then drive the puck to the net and have somebody go in hard. That’s how other teams score goals against us and that’s what we have to do too,” Gerber said.
Goalie Ryan Porter stopped 33 of 34 shots that came his way. Gerber says the coaches expect good goaltending from both of their net-minders because they’ve played well for the Jacks for two years.
“I thought Porter played well. He made some big saves when the game was still 2-1 in the second period. There was one particular play that it had come across the crease and he came across and made a really nice pad save,” Gerber said.
He also pinpoints Lucas Spence as a big contributor for the team. Despite playing defense he’s been showing himself as an offensive threat, which they like to see from their defensemen.
The team is nearly at full strength with Mark Lebold out with a bad wrist and Trent Dundas out with a lower body injury.
This week they’re working on some flow drills to prepare for a busy weekend, as well as their special teams.
“We always work on our penalty kill and our power play and so far we’ve had good results. Our special team’s been pretty good. If you look at our numbers compared to other teams in the league, we’re right up there in the top 10 out of the 64 teams in Ontario in both penalty kill and power play. We’re pretty happy with that right now,” Gerber said.
The Jacks have a full weekend of hockey ahead of them with three games in as many days. First up, they’re off to Woodstock to play the Navy Vets again on Nov. 11 at 7:45 p.m. They’re back home in the orchard on Nov. 12 for a 7:30 p.m. game against the Ayr Centennials. They hit the road on Nov. 13 to take on the Burford Bulldogs for a 8:00 p.m. start.